The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Short Stories and More…

Everyone makes mistakes… right?

Several months ago, I criticised someone for a #spellingfail. Turns out, I was the one who was wrong, a fact the other person did not let me forget. I was criticised for it, then re-tweeted around the Twitterverse. Ouch. Suddenly the joke was on me, but I wasn’t laughing. I was actually quite hurt about it, that I could be so brain dead as to mix up one letter and change the meaning of a word (I got ‘complimentary’ and ‘complementary’ mixed up- it’s an easy mistake). It bothered me for a long time and I deleted my Twitter account for this and a few other reasons (such as, I still don’t quite get Twitter…)

Today, I read a quote from Joyce Carol Oates, from her memoir A Widow’s Story. She talks about the lonely life of a writer and the criticism they face; such is the nature of writing. I stepped back for a moment to think about that. She’s right, of course, we’re all criticised in myriad ways over the course of our lives. But when something is so close to us, so raw, so inherent plus we make a living from it, it hurts. Although writers pride themselves on having a good grasp of language, we’re only human. That’s why white-out and erasers were invented. And when something’s on the internet, it stays on the internet for everyone to see your mistake. So, how ’bout that criticism, hey?

FYI Twitterverse: thankyou, but I can tell the difference between affluent and effluent. If you need help in netiquette, let me know.


March 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Y: It Matters

Some years ago, someone said every time you read a book, there’s always a detail you missed the first time. For a long time after that, whenever I re-read a book, I looked for the bits I’d missed. The same goes for movies- every time you watch it, there’s a detail you’ve missed before.

For example, today I watched The Wizard of Oz. I’ve seen that movie oh, about a thousand times. Today, I noticed Dorothy’s posy of flowers changes before she begins walking the Yellow Brick Road. The posy she’s handed has mostly purple flowers, then the posy changes to mostly yellow flowers, then back to purple. It’s a detail I’ve never noticed before.

Recently I wrote a piece for a client and for some reason, despite all my proofreading, I completely missed a blindingly obvious spelling mistake. Even worse- it was the client’s name that had been misspelled. Yes people, I committed the Cardinal Sin of Copywriting: misspelling the name of the client in a piece of copy. Luckily, it was picked up before the client saw it, but I beat myself up about it for days afterward. How could I miss that detail? How could I miss something right in front of my eyes? How could I miss it after all the time I’d spent reading and re-reading the piece?

Of course, the best thing about mistakes is that you always remember them. Hopefully, you never make them again. So while I can no longer claim my strength is ‘attention to detail’, I’m always going to check, re-check and check again the client’s name before I press Send.

(In case anyone was wondering, I left out the Y in their name, hence the title of the post.)

February 6, 2011 Posted by | Copywriting, Thoughts & Reflections | , , , , , | Leave a comment